The protection of minority languages has always been a difficult topic in Italy. Relatively few legislative texts relate to its numerous linguistic minorities. Political opposition to the drawing up of a set of comprehensive laws or the ratification of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (Council of Europe 1992) has always been very high and concrete application of existing laws minimal.
Also, the Framework Convention [for the Protection of National Minorities] (Council of Europe 1999) has only been implemented to a certain extent.
Having one national language was a very important aspect of the unification of Italy. Standard Italian has always been presented as a unifying force even though one has to keep in mind that only at the end of the 19th century a standard form (deriving from the Tuscan-Florentine dialect) started to diffuse throughout the whole peninsula as a result of the influence of education and the media. To be able to speak Italian was associated with modernity and development whereas speaking one of the numerous Italian dialects was an expression of poverty. Those prejudices are still prevailing in Italian society and are the result of very centralized linguistic politics.
Aline Sierp, “Minority Language Protection in Italy: Linguistic Minorities and the Media”, Journal of Contemporary European Research, Volume 4, Issue 4 (2008)